N.B. government announces more nursing homes to be built in province
Published Saturday, February 10, 2018 6:41PM AST
It's said to be a problem throughout New Brunswick's Kent County; not nearly enough nursing home beds to meet the needs of the area's elderly population.
It's forcing some residents to move outside the community, away from their friends and family.
"A lot of people here in Cocagne, everybody knows everybody, so if they lived all their lives in Cocagne, for sure they'd like their last years, or senior years, staying here in their place of birth," says Cocagne Mayor Jean Hebert.
On Sunday, N.B. Premier Brian Gallant announced a new 60 bed nursing home will be built in Southern Kent County.
It's part of the provincial government's plan to build ten, 60 bed nursing homes across the province over the next five years. The ten new nursing homes will create 600 new spaces, while another 400 spaces will be designated for people suffering from forms of dementia.
The price tag is still undetermined, and Gallant says the government can't put a dollar figure on the construction, because they are still waiting for the projects to go through the bidding process.
"We do know that once all of the infrastructure pieces that we are committing to will be built, it will have an operational cost of approximately $80 million," said Gallant.
Adding 1000 beds is one thing, but some New Brunswick natives are questioning whether there are enough trained nursing home workers to fill the jobs that will come with the new homes.
"A challenge that we do have is the fact that we have some jobs that are waiting to be filled and I do want to point out that it's a challenge, but it's a better challenge than what we've had in the past here in New Brunswick, where there was often no work for anybody," says Gallant.
Gallant says his government will be studying the demographics of each region to decide where the homes will be built.
Those in attendance for Sunday's announcement were glad to see that Kent County made the cut.
"I'm going to be 76 and my husband is 75, we still live at home and he still works part-time, so as long as we can live in Cocagne, it's going to be nice to have a nice home," says Cocagne resident Louise Boudreau.
The nursing homes will be built in three phases over the next five years.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis.